Computing stuff tied to the physical world

In and out of the box

In Hardware on May 23, 2010 at 00:01

The last two posts about the Carrier Board and Carrier Card showed how the whole kaboodle was designed for a specific light-gray plastic ABS box:

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If you just use batteries and wireless, then that’s the end of the story.

But most of the time, this needs some cutouts. Let me describe how I created a custom version with a standard low-voltage power jack and an RJ-45 connector, using just these tools:

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First step is to very carefully mark the position and saw some thin slots in this thing. ABS plastic is very soft and easy to cut with a little saw like the one above:

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I tend to make the cutouts too narrow, because there is no way back!

To get a clean break, I use the knife to scratch along the line where the plastic needs to break, and then bend it (oops, you’ll also need some small pliers for that):

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This coutout was in the top half, for the DC jack. After some trimming with the knife, the cutout looks pretty accurate. Next one was the RJ-45 connector:

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Same idea: mark, saw, scratch, and break off:

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Almost there. Still a bit too narrow, and not quite deep enough – some more trimming produced this:

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Ah, that’s just about perfect (the left side could still be made a tad deeper):

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  1. Very nice carrier board, card and box… Sorry, but I just have to say it…

    It’s all coming together nicely :-)

    One tool I would add to the other three is a fine tooth file just to square up and finish those edges.

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